The latest update on the future of the Seattle Seahawks is that there really is no update.
Rachel Bachman of The Wall Street Journal did a long (paywalled) feature on the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the (so far) failed attempts by Nike founder Phil Knight to purchase the team. While the focus was pretty much entirely on the Blazers, the Paul G. Allen Trust also obviously owns the Seahawks, and Jody Allen has been the de facto owner since her brother’s passing in 2018.
In the past couple of years there’s been a lot of speculation and timeline guessing as to when (not if) the Seahawks and Blazers will be sold, but at the moment both remain off the market.
“As Jody publicly said last year, the sports teams are not for sale,” Vulcan Inc’s Jason Hunke told the WSJ. “That will eventually change pursuant to Paul’s wishes, but there is no pre-ordained timeline for when that will happen. Interested parties can engage when we establish a sales process at some point in the future.”
Hunke also said that 10-20 years is “a fair and accurate time frame” to resolve Paul’s estate, which includes selling the Seahawks and Blazers. This is not any different from what Jody Allen said in 2022.
Jody also provided some rare public comment in an email correspondence with The Wall Street Journal.
“My brother Paul and I talked about the [Blazers and Seahawks] often and I regularly advised him and team leaders on various matters,” she wrote in an email to The Wall Street Journal. “I led development of both Moda Center and Lumen Field, and have attended games for many years.
...As chair, my focus is building championship teams and managing the franchises for the long-term. Today, I work regularly with the GMs, presidents, and coaches on significant sports, business, and organization decisions and have final say on strategic moves such as key hires, trades, and player extensions.”
There was a Washington Post report saying that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who didn’t acquire the Commanders, could have an eye on the Seahawks down the line.
As noted before, after May 2024 the Seahawks can be sold without the State of Washington taking a 10 percent cut of the gross sale price. This was a deal negotiated in the 1990s to fund what we now know as Lumen Field, and we’re less than a year away from that stipulation expiring.
On the NBA side, new television and media rights agreements will take effect starting with the 2025-26 season, and that should lead to even more money for the league and increased value for all franchises. It’s been speculated that a Blazers sale could wait until after the new rights deals kick in, but speculation ain’t confirmation.
There is greater interest right now in the future of the Blazers than the Seahawks, and it’s not just because Seattle has quickly righted the ship post-Russell Wilson trade to be a playoff team. Not only have the Blazers plunged from a perennial playoff team into back-to-back terrible seasons, but the Moda Center lease expires in a couple of years.
As the WSJ article notes, Moda Center is one of the older arenas “that hasn’t undergone a comprehensive overhaul.” I think Sonics fans may have heard this story before. At the moment there is nothing to suggest the Blazers are at risk of leaving Portland—the NBA may explore expansion after the new media rights kick in—and Vulcan insists that lease renewal and arena upgrades are a “high priority.” I’m very comfortable saying there is greater tension and uncertainty among the Blazers fanbase given the ownership situation, the poor on-court product, front office instability that included the previous GM getting fired, and the constant speculation surrounding the future of franchise star Damian Lillard.
But in the meantime, both the Seahawks and Blazers remain under Jody Allen and Vulcan’s control until further notice.